Don’t be an Ostrich! Dogs are animals!

March 2, 2014


Yesterday my dear Black Rock chickens Doris and Dodger were the victims of my neighbour’s dogs! What did they do to deserve being butchered in their own pen? Nothing, they aren’t even afraid of dogs, they are used to my dogs being around them and not bothering them other than to eat there pellets, they were even more helpless than less socialised hens!  I feel terrible, it happened to creatures in my care, they were my pets giving me eggs to eat in return for safety, food and care. At least I thought they were safe!

One of the worst things is my neighbours reaction was denial, these dogs have never killed they say. How would they know? My sister has found them wandering loose on the road and taken them home on 3 occasions. I have found them in my garden and rung them to come get them home. At Christmas the Labrador came and had a go at Pie over the fence, luckily someone is always close at hand even when my dogs are out in their own garden and a worse event was avoided!

If a dog is out of sight it is likely learning to hunt! Hunting doesn’t happen overnight it takes many days practice, a lot of hours off lead. Some take longer than others, some are more natural hunters. If a dog chases any other animal or bird, eventually it will get lucky and catch one, the next step is they will kill it, once they kill they will get faster and better at the job, it is what dogs do! Two dogs together are even more effective; they can corner and kill very fast.  That is how packs have survived for centuries. It’s not like this behaviour is weird or strange, it is what untrained dogs do! It is what they had to do in the wild to survive, but we can control them!

2 weeks ago I told my neighbours  their dogs had killed one of the hens, I didn’t find her body, I saw the dogs flush her out of my paddock into their land, she didn’t come home! Just because there was no evidence I could offer they argued and denied the event. I heard them calling the dogs for several minutes, they couldn’t see them, and they assume all is well!

Please don’t be an Ostrich, we do not live in a Disney film, dogs are real animals, and if you ever forget it bad things happen to remind us. My hens are dead, they won’t be back but maybe just maybe a few people will read this and change their behaviour and that of their dogs and some other pets won’t die as a result, you won’t find your pet mutilated in its own garden!

Dog don’t just change overnight, it may seem they do, but learning is a process, when a dog catches, kills, bites, other creatures or people they have been practicing for some time and no one intervened! Please intervene, even if it is just to pass this on to someone who needs to hear this today!

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6 Responses to “Don’t be an Ostrich! Dogs are animals!”

  1. Veda Says:

    Sorry to hear about your dear Doris and Dodger. I have had chickens killed by dogs my own dogs actually. Once they do it the dogs will do it again.I had to really secure the fence so the dogs could not get in..It a sad day to find your chickens dead as I have experienced it a few times. Last year a weasel killed them Only my rooster and hen survived and only because the rooster was able to run to the neighbors and the hen even though badly chewed up was able to hide in the brush and showed up the next day plus it was my fault for leaving the door open that night. 😦

  2. abolme Says:

    Nice article. However, I feel something is missing. Is it possible for the dogs to unlearn the hunting? What should a dog owner do if his/her dog becomes a hunter?
    I understand the first thing is not to let them hunt. But, what is your advice for your neighbour for example?
    When the dog starts killing isn’t it a too dangerous animal for the household? How can I trust a dog killing neighbour’s chicken or cat? How can one guarantee a dog with this behaviour wouldnt see someday neighbour’s kids as prey?

    • Avril Munson Says:

      My dear Zerth (alias anil!) so good to hear from you, I do hope you and Akhi are well and your dog? Great questions thank you! To control hunting in the dog is possible with dedication and commitment, it is what any hunter who uses dogs does, as in gun dogs. But dogs who know how to kill cannot be left to roam and please themselves without reverting to hunting on their own again. If left it is possible dogs will move up the food chain, killing deer and therefore sheep become game too. Strangely and fortunately, dogs don’t generally move onto hunting little or big people, though a crying baby may not be viewed as a person. The other problem is this instance is that there are two dogs, and they are working together making them even more deadly. My fear is that they will start chasing and hurting dogs or in chasing a smaller prey they come into my paddock and scare my horse into an injury.
      My advice to these people is to fence their boundary effectively, or they must muzzle the dogs, or keep them on a lead when off of their property. I don’t know the dogs well enough to know how bad they are, but it is unlikely that, as these folk haven’t got involved in training them to date, it is unlikely they would have the required dedication, skill or time to make any lasting change. As usual it is not just about the dogs, the humans are the bigger factor!
      As for me I won’t be replacing the chickens! Not sure if I have answered you sufficiently?

  3. Teresa Says:

    Avril, your story has brought it all back to me< I remember when I hadn't long rehomed Connie (Jack Russell) from Battersea and she kept chasing the birds in the garden and my other Jack Russell was following suit and to my horror they killed a baby collar dove so I called you in Avril to help me deal with this problem and one of the suggestions you made was to put a bell on each of the dogs collars when they were going out in the garden to warn the birds, also everytime they would chase the birds you recommended I throw a small coke can with stones inside which I continued to do. I am now pleased to say they don't chase the birds anymore, with a little bit of time and perseveriance this problem can be dealt with and I am always thankful to you Avril for giving me the idea's and inspiration.

    • Avril Munson Says:

      Hi Teresa, so good to hear from you, thank you for your comments and so pleased to hear that Connie is being a good girl! And my advice then is as good today for wild life, not sure the hens would move away from the bell. But if we hang a big enough bell on next doors dogs I will hear them coming!!


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